Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Archive list of "E"- Notes newsletters

Click links below to read articles online, or try the PDF version to view or print an exact replica of the paper newsletter. 

August 2009

Floods ... Again
OVEC Organizer Wins International Recognition with Green Nobel
JOBS and Energy Answers for Our WV Mountain Communities
Picnic for Green JOBS
MTR Mining Equipment Taken Off Gauley Mountain For Now
Board Adds Conditions to Disputed Fayette County Mine Permit
Lets Make Sure the Transition to a Clean, Green Energy Future in WV is a Peaceful One
Calling All Potential New OVEC Board of Directors Members!
Congress Doesnt Always Want to Come CLEAN
The CLEAN Citizens Leading For Energy Action Now
American Clean Energy Security Act: Coal Rewarded
Good Gosh, We Could Have Used That Money to Jump Start the Clean Energy Future in America!
Slurry Lawsuit Settlers Frustrated With Wait for Money
Mountains Aided With First-Ever Fundraising Concert in North Carolina
Sludge Safety Project Legislative Session Wrap-Up
DEPs Sludge Study Results: Agency Still Dont Know Nuthin
OVEC Organizer Testifies at Senate MTR Hearing
Thanks for All the Volunteers Who Helped After the Floods
Fighting For Our Ancestors Resting Places
Lobbying for Green Jobs in DC
Growing Movement Demands Protection for Mountains, Climate, Humanity
Environmental Groups Ask EPA to Take Over WV Pollution Permitting
Byrds Eye View: Staffers Get Close-Up Views of Mountain Range Removal
A Good Win in A Critical Federal Court Case Against MTR
Judicial Bill Pulled by Governor
Supreme Court Case Makes WV A National Laughingstock
Eating For OVEC Keeps Raising $$$
Photovoice Participants Capture their Communities in Images
Photovoice Exhibitions Well Covered By Local and Statewide Media
You Dont Have to Go to Copenhagen to Make a Difference
Obama and Mountaintop Removal Mining: The Roller Coaster Ride
New CD Celebrates Coalfield Resistance to Mountaintop Removal
Blair Mountain and the National Register of Historic Places
Ashford Yesterday, Today and Maybe Tomorrow?
Come Home to West Virginia? Buyer Beware!
Louv-ley Day in Charleston
Who Are They Kidding?
Web Extras:
Open Letter to Governor Manchin about Blair Mountain
Matewan, West Virginia

For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter

Winds of Change Newsletter, August 2009     See sidebar for table of contents

Civil Disobedience
Growing Movement Demands Protection for Mountains, Climate, Humanity

As you may recall from the March Winds of Change, February 3 marked an escalation in the movement to end mountaintop-removal mining. On that day, several people chained themselves to mountaintop removal equipment and dozens more converged on the gates of a mountaintop-removal operation. Heres an update on some aspects of the civil disobedience campaign unfolding within the coalfields and beyond:

February 25 - James McGuinness and Mike Roselle of Climate Ground Zero were arrested on Performance Coals Edwight mountaintop-removal site as they unfurled a banner and blocked a road. The protesters chose to focus on the active mountaintop-removal site above Marsh Fork Elementary School in Sundial, West Virginia on the eve of the 37th anniversary of the Buffalo Creek disaster. Photojournalist Antrim Caskey was also arrested. See climategroundzero.org/2009/02/.

Blocking the entrance to the Capitol Power Plant on March 2. Photo by Mark Schmerling

March 2 - Capital Climate Action: A national coalition of more than 40 environmental, public health, labor, social justice, faith-based and other advocacy groups staged the largest mass mobilization on global warming in the countrys history. Mountaintop-removal opponents were front and center during the civil disobedience at the Capitol Power Plant. Board members and volunteers and staff of OVEC, Coal River Mountain Watch and other Alliance for Appalachia groups joined climate scientist James Hansen, Robert Kennedy Jr., country music superstar Kathy Mattea, authors Wendell Berry and Bill McKibben, human rights activist Vandana Shiva, actress Daryl Hannah, Rainforest Action Network members, students and thousands of people from all walks of life and from all across the nation in drawing attention to the climate crisis. www.capitolclimateaction.org.


Take Action

Many protesters arrested in these actions face assorted charges, and trials are ongoing. Legal funds are desperately needed. Please donate today. Contributions may be sent to Protesters Legal Fund c/o OVEC, P.O. Box 6753 Huntington, WV 25773-6753. You may also donate via PayPal. Click on the "Donate" button on our website at www.ohvec.org. Do be sure to mark your donations as being for "Protesters Legal Fund."

April 20 - Hundreds of activists protested Duke Energys expansion of the Cliffside coal-fired power plant in Western North Carolina. Half the coal Duke burns in the Carolinas comes from mountaintop-removal mines, the company says. During the protest, 42 people were arrested for trespassing, among them OVEC board member Larry Gibson. The Charlotte Observer quoted Gibson: "Its all right for (Duke) to desecrate my place for coal," Gibson said, glancing around the sunny uptown. "But I dont see no desecration here." www.stopcliffside.org/.

Climate scientist James Hansen being interviewed at Marsh Fork Elementary School before the march to the Goals Coal Processing plant. A coal silo at the plant looms over the school.

May 23 - On Kayford Mountain, eight environmental activists with the groups Mountain Justice and Climate Ground Zero locked themselves to huge trucks, used in mountaintop removal, to prevent further destruction. Simultaneously, two activists in hazmat suits floated a kayak with a banner reading "No More Sludge" out onto the massive toxic Brushy Fork coal slurry impoundment. A third group of nearly 100 protesters converged at the gate to the Brushy Fork operation, and some people walked onto mine property. These non-violent, peaceful protests and the 17 arrests that day came on the heels of the Mountain Justice Summer Camp, held May 17- 23. www.mountainjustice.org

Participating in the protest but not among those arrested was Ken Hechler, who represented West Virginia in Congress from 1959 to 1977. The only member of Congress to march with Dr. Martin Luther King at Selma, Alabama, Hechler went on to become the lead architect of the Coal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1969, which created tough safety regulations to protect mine workers from coal dust and other dangers. He served as West Virginias Secretary of State from 1985 to 2001.

Winnie Fox (white hat, foreground) and Bill Price just moments before they were arrested at the June 23 protest.

"We live in a free country, and you can go up and down the street swinging your arms as a free person. But if somebody comes along, and you hit that person in the nose, your freedom ends where that persons nose begins," the 94-year-old Hechler told the gathering at the mine gate. "So I say to you here, the freedom of Massey is a clear and present danger to everyone that lives below Brushy Fork. Their freedom ends because they have put thousands of people at risk."

June 18 - At 5 a.m., 14 concerned citizens entered a Massey Energys mountaintop removal mine site near Twilight, West Virginia. Four of them scaled a 150-foot dragline and attempted to unfurl a 15 150 foot "Stop Mountaintop Removal Mining" banner. Meanwhile, nine others deployed a 20 40 foot banner on the ground at the site which read, "Stop Mountaintop Removal: Clean Energy Now."

Police arrested David Hollister, Melissa ONeil, Chelsea Ritter Soronen, Lynn Stone, Charles Suggs, Rodney Webb, Jeanne Kirshon, John Johnson, Greg Yost, Jessica Sue Eley, Lisa Ramsden, David Pike, and journalists Paul Brown and Kurt Delano Mann.  mountainaction.org/wordpress/

Winnie Fox being released from custody on June 23.

June 23 - Former Congressman Ken Hechler, NASA climate scientist James Hansen, actress Daryl Hannah, former OVEC board member Winnie Fox and current OVEC board member Larry Gibson were among 31 people arrested as hundreds protested mountaintop removal coal mining at Massey Energys Goals Coal prep plant near Marsh Fork Elementary School.

State police said all were released after being cited for impeding traffic and obstructing an officer after they blocked the road near the coal processing plant.

Ruth Tucker, one of a crowd of mining industry supporters, was charged with misdemeanor battery after she struck Coal River Mountain Watchs Judy Bonds in the face. Bonds and hundreds more had peacefully assembled to focus the nations attention on the disgraceful, destructive and unnecessary form of coal mining.

"Treehugger" was one of the gentler names counter-protesters yelled at the mountaintop removal opponents. The day was quite hot, and many of those yelling "treehugger" as an insult were doing so from the shade of trees. Perhaps they should have attempted to make it through that hot day on a treeless mountaintop-removal site.

Rising Tide drapes a banner over the US EPA's Boston office.

June 29 - In Boston, Massachusetts, activists with Rising Tide draped a 25-foot banner reading, "Mountain Top Removal Kills Communities: EPA No New Permits. MountainJustice.org" on the Environmental Protection Agency building. The group is urging the agency to block over 150 pending permits for mountaintop removal coal mining in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia.


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